Threats to women’s reproductive rights have not been reported by corporate media –

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The mainstream press ignored stories about the right-wing racist attack on reproductive health for years.

Threats to women's reproductive rights have not been reported by corporate media – 52073847335 00ea4b8f59 o
Women rights (nicole vargas /Flickr)

By Kathleen Minelli and Steve Macek / censored project

In the weeks since the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade, the corporate media have been saturated with analysis and reports on the implications of the ruling for the lives and health of women. Legal observers have weighed in on the conservative majority’s reasoning in the case. The impact of the ruling on the 2022 midterm elections has been endlessly discussed. State-by-state battles over state-level legislation and constitutional amendments banning abortion have been covered extensively, as have efforts by women’s rights groups and medical providers to ensure women get the reproductive health services they need.

However, in the decades prior to the Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jacksonthe establishment press glossed over a number of high-profile stories about right-wing, and in some cases neo-fascist, pressure to ban abortion, not to mention the steps many states and federal agencies had already taken to restrict women’s access to reproductive health services in the United States. the US and around the world.

Consider the link between the anti-abortion movement and right-wing nationalist and white supremacist armed groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Christian Identity movement, Gun Owners of America, and other “militia” groups. Feminist publications like about the problems and other independent media outlets reported on the connection between the militant right and the anti-abortion organization in the 1990s. A prominent example in this coverage was “the July 1996 conviction of three members of the Oklahoma Constitutional Militia (which included a Christian identity “prophet” and his followers) for conspiring to blow up abortion clinics, along with the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights goals. ”

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But affiliations between the radical right and the anti-abortion movement did not end in the 1990s. In recent years, prominent Republicans have embraced the so-called “great replacement” theory, the racist fantasy that whites in the US are being deliberately marginalized thanks to unregulated immigration from largely non-white countries, and see legal abortion as part of a long-term plan to decimate the country’s white population. Both Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson have paid lip service to this delusional theory and he backed pro-natalist authoritarian policies. Even further to the right, virulently antisemitic pastor Rick Wiles he has claimed that there would be no abortion in America were it not for “powerful, influential and wealthy Jews”.

As Alex Di Banco detailed in a February 2020 article on The nation, Far-right and fascist groups, from Abolish Human Abortion (AHA), whose logo resembles some of the new swastika-like symbols favored by white supremacist groups, to the Traditional Neo-Nazi Workers’ Party, have infiltrated the anti-abortion movement. writing in Ms Magazine, feminist scholar Carol Mason explained that extremist anti-abortionists were “in the mix of white supremacists, paramilitary militias, and conspiracy believers who stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC,” while militant anti-abortion groups, including Operation Save America, applauded the insurgency via social media.

The corporate media has been belatedly aware of the influences of racist ideology and far-right activists in organized opposition to women’s reproductive rights. On May 15, 2022, MSNBC interviewed Dorothy Roberts of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society on the racist “great replacement theory” that informs the most extreme anti-abortion rhetoric and action. “The underlying anti-abortion rhetoric and action is the idea that white women should have more babies to build the ‘white nation,’” Roberts explained. Since the horrific racially motivated mass shooting of May 12, 2022 in Buffalo, New York, the Washington Post has been sounding the alarm about the popularity of the “great replacement theory” among republican politicians Y conservative commentators. But the independent media, including the interception, The nationY Ms. Magazine—have done the most sustained and detailed reporting on the connections between the racist right and the anti-abortion movement.

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Every year, Project Censored, the media monitoring organization established in 1976, to which we both contribute, publishes a list of 25 important news that have gone unnoticed by commercial means for profit. nineteen ninety six story about the link between the militias and the anti-abortion movement was on the Project’s list in 1997. Last year’s list included a story about how the Trump administration not only reinstated but tightened the “global gag rule” restrictions”, preventing international NGOs providing abortion services from accessing US government funding. Previous versions of the top 25 list highlighted alternative media reports on the imprisonment of women who had suffered miscarriages under punitive anti-abortion laws at the state level and stories about how mergers between secular and Catholic hospitals eroded abortion and family planning services.

The Supreme Court’s decision to remove federal protection for women’s control over their own bodies has sparked widespread outrage and eventually a flurry of new establishment coverage.

But history shows that the corporate media is not a reliable guardian of women’s reproductive rights. As Project Censored’s tracking of unreported stories shows, independent media, especially independent feminist outlets like Ms. Magazine Y newsgroup rewire, they do a much better job of reporting on reproductive health issues than most of the corporate media. If you’re looking for a warning about the next brazen attack on women’s rights and what reproductive rights activists are doing to prevent it, you’d be much better off reading Millisecond. or other independent media than to trust CNN or The New York Times.

steve macek

Steve Macek is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies at North Central College. He is coordinator, along with Andy Lee Roth, of censored project‘s Campus Affiliates Program and partner of State of the Free Press 2023.